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The 16 Best Places To Catch Leaf Change This Fall

As the countryside hues shift from summer greens to autumn bronzes, grab your mittens and favorite pair of wellies to check out our top 16 places to catch the leaf change around the country this autumn.

Written by Madison Dapcevich
Manchester Vermont Fall
Photo Credit: Lonnie Janzen
 
A crisp bite in the air means sweater weather has officially arrived, and with it comes all of our fall favorites. From pumpkin-spiced lattes to pumpkin-stocked patches, the new season brings with it opportunities to get cozy and soak up the last little bit of warmer temperatures.

As the countryside hues shift from summer greens to autumn bronzes, grab your mittens and favorite pair of wellies to check out our top 16 places to catch changing leaves around the country this autumn. 
 
See also The Secret to Spectacular Fall Colors

Where to See Leaf Change in the Northeast

Fall in the Northeast is a beautiful time, especially if you have the chance to sneak off into the woods. The foliage here is known to be some of the most beautiful in the country, and local apple orchards are brimming with fresh fruit.

Fall in Manchester, Vermont is short and sweet, and area locals advise getting the most out of a visit by taking a trip to the mountains. Topping out at 3,825 feet, Mount Equinox is a 5.8 mile roundtrip hike that takes about five hours with a 2,870 foot elevation gain. The top offers panoramic views of the gorgeous Taconic range with shades of brown, orange, and yellow.

While you’re there and wanting to top out on some of the most epic peaks in the area, be sure to check out the White Mountains in New Hampshire, New York’s Catskill Mountains, and the Berkshires in Massachusetts. 
 
 
Charlottesville Virginia Fall
Photo Credit: Bob Mical

Where to See Leaf Change in the South

After the sweltering summertime heat, Fall brings much-needed cooler temperatures and respite to the country’s southern states. One of our all-time favorite places to embrace the new season is Charlottesville, Virginia. This moderately-sized college town is nestled along the Blue Ridge Mountains, whose hues take on a bronze tone in the later months. Now that school is well underway, students and locals alike settle into a restful routine that includes walking along the city’s famous downtown mall, sneaking off to the many hiking trails, and heading out for a last little bit of fall fishing.

Some of our other favorite places to settle into the new season are North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains, Greenville, South Carolina, and Georgia’s Vogel State Park. 
 
 
Ozarks Fall
Photo Credit: Kyle Spradley

Where to See Leaf Change in the Midwest

Due to their unique location and diversity of plant life, the Ozarks in Missouri are home to two peak fall foliage events. According to Ozarkmtns.com, the two events occur between six and ten days apart. The first, known as the “False Peak,” occurs around October 14 to 20 while the “true peak” normally takes place between October 26th and November 5th.

The Midwest has so many great places to see the changing leaves that it’s difficult to choose just a handful of our favorite. If you find yourself in the area for the month of October, be sure to take a tour through Custer State Park in South Dakota, the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Minnesota, and Michigan’s Mackinac Island. 
 
See also A Historic Log Cabin in Wisconsin

 

Alaska Fall
Photo Credit: J McDowell

Where to See Leaf Change in the West

Home to the tallest peak in North America, Denali National Park in Alaska also puts off one of the best foliage shows in the country. Snow normally begins to accumulate between late September through to late October, so a trip to see the foliage needs to be perfectly timed. If done correctly, visitors to the park will see snow-capped mountains in the distance accentuate the autumn colors, further dramatized by wildlife packed in the lowlands getting in the last little bit of food before the bitter winter sets in. The National Park Service set up a special online tracker so you can time your trip perfectly.

If Alaska is a little too far north, the entire western part of the country showcases a dramatic showing of the new season, including Mt. Hood in Oregon, California’s coastal park Big Sur, and Aspen, Colorado. 
 
See also Road Trip Guide: Flathead Lake in Western Montana

Plan Your Fall Leaf Change Trip Yourself

You can check out a full fall foliage report from SmokyMountains.com, to help you plan your autumn tour to check out the progression of changing leaves across the country.